Clear Aligners

Can Clear Aligners Cause Cavities?

clear aligner treatment kit
Can Clear Aligners Cause Cavities? 1024 683 Urban Smile

When it comes to straightening teeth, clear aligners are one of the most practical and effective ways to a perfect, healthy smile. Clear aligners are less invasive, discreet, and can be conveniently removed for routines such as eating meals and brushing teeth. While clear aligners are proven to enhance your smile, your overall dental health routines also play a major role to straighter teeth without cavities. Learn more about how clear aligners work and prevent cavities along the way.

Quick Summary:

  • Cavities or tooth decay are permanently damaged areas on the hard surface of teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes.
  • Clear aligners do not cause cavities. However, poor dental routines and improper care of clear aligners can lead to cavities during treatment.
  • Dental routines such as brushing and flossing play a major role in caring for your smile.
  • Clear aligners are meant to help you straighten your teeth and make them easier to clean.

What are Cavities?

Cavities (also known as tooth decay or caries) are permanently damaged areas on the hard surface of teeth. These are often caused by several factors such as bacteria in the mouth, frequent snacking, sugary food and drinks, as well as not cleaning teeth well. Without treatment, cavities can further develop damage by causing holes or tiny openings to your teeth.

Do Clear Aligners Lead to Cavities?

Woman holding a clear aligner

Clear aligners do not lead to cavities. However, wearing clear aligners without proper care and dental routines such as brushing and flossing can cause cavities in the treatment process. Clear aligners are designed to straighten your teeth and make them easier to clean.1 It is important to consult with your orthodontist and dentist on what dental routines are essential to keeping your teeth healthy and preventing cavities during your smile journey.

Why Do People Think Clear Aligners Like Invisalign or Spark Aligners Will Cause Cavities?

It’s common for people to get cavities with or without clear aligners. Our routines and lifestyle can lead to many causes of cavities. They may come from the everyday food we eat, the way we brush our teeth, and even how we care for our clear aligners. It’s important to consult with your dentist and orthodontist on practising good dental hygiene habits, as well as on proper care for your clear aligners and what foods or drinks to avoid in order to prevent cavities.

How to Avoid Cavities with Clear Aligners?

  • Keep Your Clear Aligners Clean.
    How clear aligners work

Clean clear aligners are just as important as brushing your teeth. Clean your clear aligners with a soft-bristled brush (that’s separate from your toothbrush)5 and denture cleaners or any mild cleaning solution. Always rinse your clear aligners before wearing them again.2

  • Know How to Properly Store Your Aligners.

Store your clear aligners in a cool, dry place. Heat can damage your clear aligners and melt the material which will ruin its form.2

  • Learn How to Brush and Floss Your Teeth Properly.

While tooth brushing and flossing are known to prevent cavities, waiting before brushing allows your teeth enamel to remineralize and build itself back up.3 Your saliva allows your mouth to clean itself which can make your teeth more sensitive. Wait for at least 30 minutes, floss, and then brush your teeth gently.

  • Choose Water Over Juices or Sugary Drinks.
    holding a glass of water

Drinking water is not only essential for your body, but it also helps prevent cavities. Water allows you to stay hydrated and increase your saliva to naturally keep your mouth clean. Compared to sugary drinks and juice that may cause cavities, water helps your teeth and mouth naturally rinse off any bacteria in between teeth.

  • Do Not Eat or Drink While Wearing Your Clear Aligners.

Always remove your clear aligners before eating or drinking. Clear aligners are not made for biting or chewing food we eat. This can damage our clear aligners as well as lead to food getting more likely stuck between our teeth to cause cavities. If you’re drinking on-the-go, use a straw to consume your water or any beverage.2

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FAQs

In the case of cavities, your dentist can help resolve the problem with a filling or another form of tooth restoration necessary. Trained dentists can recreate the size and shape of the tooth by using your clear aligners6 to shape the filling and save you from getting a new set.

Yes, you can get treatment even with cavities. However, most dental providers will advise you to have your cavities filled and to settle any dental health issues before they fit you for clear aligners.7

Summary

Cavities or none, clear aligners are still a very effective way to straighten teeth and resolve dental issues. Always remember to consult with your Melbourne orthodontist and dentist on proper ways to care for your teeth and clear aligners, so you can be on your way to a perfect, healthy smile.

Woman With Straightened Teeth

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References:

  • https://www.fineorthodontics.com.au/blog/does-invisalign-lead-cavities
  • https://ghoshortho.com/our-blog/invisalign-care-do-dont/
  • https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/brushing-immediately-after-meals-you-may-want-wait
  • https://cosmeticdentistshouston.com/blog/how-can-cavities-be-prevented-during-invisalign-treatment
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-clean-invisalign#:~:text=Cleaning%20vs.,-rinsing%20Invisalign%20aligners&text=Remember%2C%20when%20it%20comes%20to,bacteria%20that%20can%20build%20up.
  • https://www.greybulldental.com/blog/2020/08/14/cavities-during-invisalign/
  • https://www.myimagedental.com/post/can-you-get-invisalign-with-cavities